A CAMPAIGNER against congestion charging has won support from people in Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly's constituency.

Despite never having driven a car, Geoffrey Berg, aged 52, a former Conservative councillor in Bury, surveyed homes in Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport and Trafford.

When he visited Hunger Hill, in the Bolton West MP's constituency, he convinced 250 of 291 people he visited - 86 per cent - to sign his petition opposing the charge, the greatest proportion in any of the areas.

Rochdale's Heywood North ward had 84 per cent of residents against the charge, while opposition in Timperely ward, Trafford, was the lowest at 76 per cent.

His results contradict a poll conducted on behalf of the councils behind the congestion charge, which suggested two-thirds of Bolton people backed the plans.

Mr Berg is now sending his results to Ms Kelly and every Bolton councillor.

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities will vote tomorrow on whether to submit a bid to Ms Kelly's department for £3 billion to improve public transport, which could pave the way for the charge's introduction.

Motorists driving into the centre of Manchester could pay up to £5 a day by 2012. But charging could also be extended to satellite towns like Bolton and Bury in a second phase.

Mr Berg, who lives in Prestwich, said: "I have never driven, but I've got some spare time and decided I would take on what is the biggest issue to face local government in 30 years.

"The charge could mean people paying more to get to work than they do in council tax.

"With Ruth Kelly being appointed as the new Transport Secretary, I thought it would be appropriate to show the opposition is as overwhelming in her own constituency as it is anywhere."